Subway Announces Intent to Sue CBC For $210 Million for Alleged False Claims About Their Chicken

The sandwich franchise has announced its intention to sue the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation alleging the network aired a program falsely claiming the company’s chicken contains around 50 percent soy. The CBC refuses to retract its claim or apologize

Subway has issued a Notice of Action stating the company intends to sue the network for $210 million. Subway is claiming an episode of Marketplace, the network's consumer show, erroneously reported Subway’s chicken products have a much higher percentage of soy than is found in chicken served by other fast food franchise outlets.

A Notice of Action is not a lawsuit but rather a document indicating an intention to sue. CBC acknowledges the corporation was serviced with the notice and said they will defend the lawsuit if and when it is launched.

The Marketplace episode in question aired on Feb. 24 and was entitled, “The Chicken Challenge.” In that episode, CBC claimed Subway’s oven-roasted chicken contains only 53.6 percent chicken. In addition, the program noted Subway’s chicken strips, used in its Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwiches, contains only 42.8 percent chicken. The rest of the “chicken” consists of soy used as a filler.


  • GrumpyGuyGrumpyGuy Member
    edited March 2017
    What disturbed me was learning that their chicken wasn't 100% chicken to begin with, and that Subway isn't trying to claim that it is - only that the percent given is false.

    A Reddit thread about this story contains a response from someone in the food industry who said the following:


    Food scientist here. I have worked with formed hams like the ones subway uses. Their issue may very well be cost cutting, which maybe leads them to use cheaper products.

    So you start with chicken. Technically the chicken is chicken, but only the chicken portion. But then chicken is expensive, so you add water to make it cheaper and just as heavy. But then water leaks out, so you add carrageenan and sodium tripolyphosphate to gel the water in the muscle tissue. But then your protein content is low which could get you into trouble with the law, so you add some type of soy protein. Only it tastes weird so you add some flavours and spices and salt and so on. But then it looks weird so you tumble it all together and then put it in a bag, which fits into a mold and you bake it in an oven until it's cooked. And by the time you cool it, unpack it and slice it, it's a product that may be as little as 50% chicken (and probably a lot less than that), some soy protein, some starch a lot of water (sometimes as high as 35% water) and some minor ingredients (less than 1%) like carrageenan, phosphate, aromas, etc. And you have a nice product that is just as nutritious and probably more palatable than the real chicken.

    People should be outraged but not because 50% of the protein is soy. They should be outraged that the level of soy can also indicate that they probably also have a ton of water in there.

    Water at the price of chicken.

    Edits: autocorrected stuff

    Edit 2: rip my inbox.

    Edit 3: to clarify: I'm trying to give people an insight on how it might be. I'm not saying Subway does it this way, but that's my assumption based on the evidence. I've worked on similar products (and some much more extended, for very poor market segments), you'd be surprised how expensive real protein can be in some countries.

    Also think about the chicken you buy at the supermarket, that chicken can also be injected and tumbled with all sorts of ingredients, and it's up to your local legislation to say if those ingredients are labelled or not. I'm not saying this is in your market, but this happens in very many countries, especially poor ones or with very large population segments that are very poor.


    He claims the disgusting-sounding "nice product" resulting from all those steps is just as nutritious and possibly tastier than actual chicken.  That may be truebut what about the additives like sodium tripolyphosphate?  To find out what that is, I checked Wikipedia:

    Sodium triphosphate (STP), also sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP), or tripolyphosphate (TPP),[1]) is an inorganic compound with formula Na5P3O10. It is the sodium salt of the polyphosphate penta-anion, which is the conjugate base of triphosphoric acid. It is produced on a large scale as a component of many domestic and industrial products, especially detergents. Environmental problems associated with eutrophication are attributed to its widespread use. inorganic compound commonly used in detergents.  Personally, I'd like to keep that out of my food.

    Thanks CBC - even if your claims are not accurate, they led me to look into how some of these meat "products" are made, and now I am better educated.  I consider that a good deed.

  • Also - am I wrong in taking away from this that Subway's business model is only viable by continuing to use cheaper "formed" meats and what are surely numerous other sketchy ingredients?
  • Matt_ADMIN_Matt_ADMIN_ Administrator
    "Formed ham" eh...

    Well, that's every business model. I would sometimes joke that if it weren't for people's constant anger at what companies do, children would be sold rat poison if it earned profit.

    Pretty much everything we eat and wear and use are full of additives that are harmful for us for the sake of rich people hoarding even more wealth. Our entire society encourages this kind of behaviour, which is why I'll never understand why I get so much fight-back when I suggest that we live in a failing economic model.

    Can anyone argue that our economic model will be successful long term if we're eating "formed chicken", wearing rags soaked in chemicals, and actually get punished by secular prohibitionists when we point out these things?
    "...Say, 'GOD is sufficient for me.' In Him the trusters shall trust." (Quran 39:38)
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